O.K. confession time..I have been working on an abstract painting for way too many months. Each time I return to this painting I declare that on that particular day, if I resolve just a few more problem areas that my work will be finished! Sometimes I even take pictures of work in progress and look at it on my cell phone in the evening when I am home. I often convince myself that the next time I return to my studio... bingo I will just need to add a little of this or that and I'll be done. But even with some tinkering, that "finish" bell may not ring as I expected. How does one know when an abstract painting is done? One of my mentors said in a critique session "that a painting is not finished...it just stops in interesting places". So with that comment in mind, I'm returning to my studio and I am going to have a talk with my painting and ask it what would make you more interesting?
It is amazing how you can create so many interesting marks and textures with common ordinary objects and household materials such as an old plastic credit card. One of my students in my Wednesday WHAL Mark making class introduced me to this credit card technique. You begin by placing paper (in this case we were using waxed deli paper called Kabnet) over an old credit card and making a rubbing with a pencil or black crayon. Plastic credit cards can also be used as "a palette knife" to spread paint on paper or canvas. You can also scrape into a painted paper with the edge of the credit card to create nice lines and marks.
If I am being totally honest I can not remember if I started to doodle and I said, hey this drawing looks like a Conch shell and I ran with it. Or, I was studying the patterns and twists and turns of a Conch shell and incorporated these spirals and textures into my work. Whichever way this drawing happened, it is a reminder how helpful it is to look at the world around you. You will find so many intrinsic marks. lines, shapes and patterns in nature that you can mimic in your own way in your abstract art. This drawing was done with a simple Uniball Vision black pen on a small white sketch pad. The drawing has a nice combination of darks and lights, a repetition of shapes spiral lines and a sense of three dimension or depth because of the way the lines were created.
My new Facebook group "The Art Of Mark Making in Abstract Art" is up and running and becoming a popular online meeting place for artists who work in all types of media. Mark making was very much associated with Abstract Expressionists who flourished during the 1950s and were also called Action painters. Moving away from Representational art, Abstract Expressionists were more interested in the immediacy of the work, foregoing careful planning and deliberate sketches and delighting in accidental outcomes and spontaneity. Gestural strokes, dripping paint, accidental marks and outcomes, unconventional painting and drawing tools were all part of the Abstract Expressionist's approach to making art. In the new Facebook group I started, artists from all over the world are posting examples of their work, announcements about shows, relevant articles and more. Just like the work, this is a very dynamic group worth joining. Here is the link to the new group The Art of Mark Making in Abstract Art. www.facebook.com/groups/1770476956535168/
When I am making Mixed Media artwork I like to keep a pre-cut Mat "window" nearby to help me isolate parts of my work in progress that may actually be more exciting than if I kept the "whole" piece intact. I have been criticized for giving up too soon on "resolving" a whole piece and I understand that comment. I even at times feel a little guilty for reaching for my mat window, but I also appreciate that I respect my visual eye and if cropping is what is called for....that is what my artistic intuition tells me. Some guidelines that I use when I am making this decision to crop or cut up a piece of work is does the section I have highlighted show more composition integrity and or excitement than the piece as a whole? Sometimes eliminating "noise" or complexity is helpful. Are the color relationships keener in the smaller section chosen? Do I get more drama, serenity, mystery, movement etc. in the portion of the artwork that I have chosen to feature. These are some ways to think about should you crop or not.
It really is true that sometimes the palette with a mixture of the day's paint caked on can appear at times to be more interesting than the work in progress. The same can be said for the glorious accidental spills and drips and strokes that appear on the under sheets or table coverings that many of us place down on our workspace before beginning a Mixed Media project. I always encourage new students to intentionally work on top of layers of paper. My favorite paper to use under work is 18 X 24 Drawing paper (which comes in gummed pads at your local art store) or rolls of white paper (Restaurant supply companies). These wonderful painted papers can be torn and used in collages or worked back into later as paintings and drawings without tearing.
WINTER CLASSES 2016
MAKING YOUR MARK IN CONTEMPORARY ABSTRACT ART AT THE WEST HARTFORD ART LEAGUE
C. Dianne Zweig West Hartford Art League 6 Weeks Level: Beginner to Advanced Abstract artists who would like to add more spontaneity to their artwork will explore a variety of mark making approaches to help reinvigorate and “morph” their contemporary styles into more interesting and finished works of art. Emphasis will be on the language of line and spontaneity, chaos and control, figuration to abstraction, action versus quiet, color, shape using both traditional and unconventional art products, materials and tools. Assignments will integrate the use of wet and dry media, pen and ink products, painting and collage. Emphasis will be on resolving artistic dilemmas in creative ways which incorporate innovation as well as group critiques. All levels of students welcomed. A materials list is available at: http://www.cdiannezweig.com/workshops/ C. Dianne Zweig is a Contemporary Mixed Media abstract artist whose artwork is influenced by the organic shapes and abstract designs of 1950s textiles. She is a member of Connecticut Women Artists and a founding member of Mixus, a group of women artists who work in Mixed media. Dianne is also enjoys teaching art classes and workshops to all ages.
DZ312|Wednesday, January 11th – February 15th|1:00 – 4:00 Clubhouse Classroom Fee: Member $138.00 Non-member $163.00
To register visit the West Hartford Art League